NI education: unions call off school support workers strike

NI education: unions call off school support workers strike

Screenshot, Strikes by support workers were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The strike by non-teaching staff in Northern Ireland has been called off on Monday.

Nipsa and GMB said the action planned for Tuesday will also not go ahead.

A third union, Unite, has not yet called off its Tuesday strike pending negotiations.

Workers from all three unions have been taking action on wages and qualifications.

Among those going on strike were bus drivers, classroom assistants and cafeteria staff.

‘Meaningful negotiations’

In a statement, Nipsa said the unions met with representatives of the Department of Education (DoE) and the Education Authority on Friday.

It added that Department of Education representatives “have indicated that they are willing to engage in meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute over the review of salaries and qualifications.”

“All unions responded indicating their willingness to participate in the negotiations,” the statement said.

Actions other than strikes will continue and unions will return to strike if negotiations are not carried out “in good faith and in a timely manner.”

Negotiations will take place on Monday.

Nipsa deputy general secretary Patrick Mulholland said members look forward to “a fair deal that reflects their hard work and commitment”.

“If this does not happen, then we will return to the picket lines with all the force at our disposal,” he said.

“There is now a brief window of opportunity to allow the NI Assembly to find a solution to this bitter dispute.

“The choice is clear: a fair solution or strikes and conflicts in our education system.”

Screenshot, The strike planned for non-teaching staff in schools next week is suspended

Education Minister Paul Givan welcomed the suspension of the strike.

“This importantly means that it will now be possible for many schools that are planning to close on Monday and Tuesday to open as normal,” he said.

Givan recognized “the exceptional role played by support staff across the education sector”.

He added: “I am committed to working with the unions to find a solution and remain confident that progress can be made.

“I will work with executive colleagues to ensure that is the outcome.”

The Education Authority said schools have been notified and will review whether they can reopen on Monday.

“An update will be provided on Tuesday, June 4 as soon as possible,” a spokesperson added.